O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave Published Oct. 24, 2014 By Lt. Col. Brenda Corrunker 22nd Medical Support Squadron MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Like any Airman, when I hear the National Anthem, I feel a great sense of pride. When I hear it, I often think of a family who lived next door to me when I was stationed at Randolph Air Force Base. They had a four-year old son who waited for the music to play every day. At 5 o'clock, when retreat began to play, I would see him run outside and render his version of the salute. His parents, who were Airmen, were obviously teaching him the importance of the music, and I'm sure one day he will understand why we present arms during the National Anthem. This made me think, "What are we doing to develop the next generation of leaders?" Are we encouraging our Airmen to wait eagerly for the National Anthem to start playing? Or, do we foster a culture that dreads getting caught outside during revile or retreat? Are you the kind of supervisor who leads by example and proudly stands in the rain or snow to render the proper custom and courtesy? Or, are you the kind who ducks back into the building and impatiently wait for the music to end? Our freedoms are not given to us; they're not free... they're earned. To me, the National Anthem represents those who have paid the ultimate price so that I could be a free American. Do not take for granted the blood, sweat and tears that were sacrificed for our freedom. That little boy was proud to render his rendition of a salute. The next time you hear the national anthem, stand proud and render a salute to our flag, salute those who sacrificed their lives for our great nation, to generations who will defend our country tomorrow. Lead by example; foster a culture of excellence by doing the right thing when no one is looking. Remember, honor, and respect when you hear the national anthem.